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GeoVax and Virometix to Collaborate on Immunotherapy Program for HPV Infections and Related Cancers
GeoVax Continues Expansion of International Collaborative Efforts for its Unique MVA-VLP Vaccine Technology
ATLANTA, GA, November 13, 2018 – GeoVax Labs, Inc. (OTCQB: GOVX), a biotechnology company developing human vaccines, and Virometix AG, a company developing next-generation Synthetic Virus-Like Particle (SVLPTM) based vaccines, announced today the start of a collaboration to develop a therapeutic vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The collaboration will include preclinical animal testing of GeoVax’s MVA-vectored HPV vaccine candidates in combination with Virometix’ synthetic HPV vaccine candidate.
GeoVax’s vaccine technology is based on its live Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) platform, which generates vaccine antigens, in the form of multimeric proteins or noninfectious VLPs, in the individual being vaccinated. Gene sequences of target antigens are inserted into the MVA genome which drives their expression and budding from the infected cells. In this way, vaccination induces two pools of antigens as targets for the immune response – virus-infected cells and released multimeric or VLP proteins. This strategy mimics a natural viral infection, triggering the body to produce a robust and durable immune response with involvement of both antibodies and T cells.
Farshad Guirakhoo, PhD, GeoVax’s Chief Scientific Officer, commented, “This new collaboration perfectly complements our ongoing collaboration with Emory University for HPV-related head and neck cancers in patients who express oncogene products of HPV16, E6 and E7 proteins. Similar to the strategy we are utilizing in our clinical trials for HIV and preclinical testing of our cancer vaccines (e.g. vector and protein combination), we believe the combination of our MVA-vectored HPV vaccines and Virometix’ SVLP-based HPV vaccine will bring a synergy that significantly increases the therapeutic potential of each platform. This and other collaborations that we’ve established and continue to establish, are focused on providing critically needed solutions to either prevent or cure critical areas of infectious diseases and cancers utilizing our unique expertise and know-how, resulting in highly effective, safe, simple to administer and low-cost manufactured solutions, improving the lives of millions worldwide.”
“We are pleased to enter into this collaboration, which will expand our commitment to the development of cancer immunotherapies,” said Arin Ghasparian, PhD, Virometix’ Chief Executive Officer. “We appreciate the clinical and preclinical development work done by GeoVax on their vaccine candidates for viral diseases and cancer. We believe that a combination of MVA-vectored HPV vaccine candidates with our SVLPTM platform could be potentially beneficial for the immunotherapy of HPV-induced cancers and look forward to working with GeoVax on this combination.”
HPV refers to a group of more than 200 related viruses. More than 40 viruses can easily be spared through sexual contact, whereas other types can cause genital warts that are not sexually transmitted. Sexually transmitted HPV are classified into 2 categories; Low risk HPV (e.g. type 6 and 11) that cause benign tumors and high-risk HPV (e.g. type 16 and 18) that cause cancers (e.g. cervical, anal, penile and oropharyngeal). Every year in the United States, there are an estimated 14 million new HPV infections, with around 50% occurring in 15 to 24-year-olds. Currently, there are an estimated 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s, infected with HPV. In fact, HPV is so common that it infects nearly all men and women at some point in their lives, but fortunately, in most cases, HPV infections are asymptomatic and do not cause any health problems. However, in some instances, HPV can cause health problems like genital warts and cancer. Although there are vaccines that can prevent infections with the types of HPV that most commonly cause cancer, there is currently no cure for an HPV infection after it has established in a person.
Virometix AG is a privately held biotechnology company developing a new generation of fully synthetic vaccines and immunotherapeutic drugs for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases and cancer. Fast growing demands, health threats from newly arising complex viral and bacterial pathogens and increasingly stringent requirements for stability, safety and tolerability require new approaches to tackling current and future challenges. Rational molecular design, and Virometix' proprietary “Synthetic Virus-Like Particle” (SVLPTM) and “Synthetic Antigen Mimetics” (SAMTM) platforms allow for the rapid production and optimization of vaccine candidates with superior properties in terms of safety, efficacy and stability. Virometix is based in Zurich, Switzerland. For more information about Virometix AG please visit: https://www.virometix.com/.
GeoVax Labs, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing human vaccines against infectious diseases using its MVA-VLP vaccine platform. GeoVax was the winner of the 2018 “Best Biotech” Vaccine Industry Excellence Awards, a finalist for the 2018 “Best Prophylactic Vaccine” Award for its Zika vaccine at the World Vaccine Congress, as well as a finalist for Pipelines of Promise at Buzz of Bio 2018. The Company’s development programs are focused on vaccines against HIV, Zika, hemorrhagic fever viruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, Lassa) and malaria. GeoVax also is evaluating the use of its MVA-VLP platform in cancer immunotherapy, and for therapeutic use in chronic Hepatitis B infections. GeoVax’s vaccine platform supports in vivo production of non-infectious VLPs from the cells of the very person receiving the vaccine. The production of VLPs in the person being vaccinated mimics virus production in a natural infection, stimulating both the humoral and cellular arms of the immune system to recognize, prevent, and control the target infection. For more information, visit www.geovax.com.
Certain statements in this document are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. These statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Actual results may differ materially from those included in these statements due to a variety of factors, including whether: GeoVax can develop and manufacture its vaccines with the desired characteristics in a timely manner, GeoVax's vaccines will be safe for human use, GeoVax's vaccines will effectively prevent targeted infections in humans, GeoVax’s vaccines will receive regulatory approvals necessary to be licensed and marketed, GeoVax raises required capital to complete vaccine development, there is development of competitive products that may be more effective or easier to use than GeoVax's products, GeoVax will be able to enter into favorable manufacturing and distribution agreements, and other factors, over which GeoVax has no control. GeoVax assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements and does not intend to do so. More information about these factors is contained in GeoVax's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including those set forth at "Risk Factors" in GeoVax's Form 10-K.